The Ferrari F40: Legend, Relic, Fantasy?


What message do we leave for the future? A handbook for survival, stories from the past. Who would believe such mythical beasts existed, without evidence?

When petrol pumps become museum pieces, the scent of fuel remains as a distant memory, and tales of combustion engines are discreetly shared with trusted friends and over shoulder glances. Language may change, meanings may be lost as time passes and disc-drives dissolve; codes evolve, leaving only a few with the knowledge of the ancient mechanical crafts.

Imagine seeing a legend for the first time. Eyes finally focusing on the iconic form – the colour, the carbon fibre, the Kevlar. Then, key turn and heart-in-mouth as the engine roars into life.

The F40 definitely goes down in history as the ultimate in Ferrari folklore. From faded posters on bedroom walls to Turbo Outlaw in the Sega-centric arcade, it’s embedded in our collective psyches. 

This is not a myth though, it’s a reality. The F40 is truly one of the greatest cars of our time. Built in 1987 to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary, an amalgamation of technical distinction, striking appearance, and staggering performance, the F40 borrowed from the raw simplicity and power of a race car, and put it straight onto the road.

Built with innovative and futuristic materials that not only provided strength and stability but enabled the weight to be kept down to just 1100kg. Bonded Kevlar reinforced the F40’s tubular steel spaceframe chassis, while carbon fibre panels and polycarbonate windows kept the vehicle light elsewhere. 

No door panels, no carpets, no glove box, no stereo; everything stripped to the minimum. 

What the F40 lacked in interior trim, it gained in performance (and exhaust pipes – three, to be precise!)

The 2.9 litre twin-turbo’d true V8 engine not only puts out significant power in the form of 478bhp, taking you from 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds, and topping out at just over 200mph (the first road car to do so) but more importantly it gets you there with a thrilling 426lbs.ft of torque. 

Ferrari set out to produce just 400 F40’s, but due to popular demand ended up building 1311. Production of the road car continued until 1992, while race car versions continued to be built up until 1996. The iconic shape and stance was formed from the eye of Pininfarina designers and the wind of the aerodynamic testing tunnel. The colour? Rosso Corsa, of course.

When the F40 was released there was nothing like it, and decades later it’s still unmatched – this isn’t nostalgia over a past icon, this is recognition of a true legend in our time.